TTC Budget 2011: Service Cuts Definitely, Fare Increase Maybe (Update 6)

Updated January 12, 2011 at 5:30 pm: Today the TTC decided to defer the matter of the proposed service cuts to its meeting on February 2.  I will comment in more detail on both the Operating and Capital budget presentations that were made today (they are not available online).

Meanwhile, details of the service cuts are available.  A few notes about this table (which comes from the TTC):

  • Vehicle reductions:  This is the TTC’s estimate of how many vehicles will be saved, and these numbers won’t always be the same as in the table I produced because of assumptions about interlining.
  • Customers affected:  These are the people who now use the service.  Equivalent to “boardings” used in a calculation below.
  • Customers lost:  This is the TTC’s estimate of the riders who will be lost.  Generally this is much less than the number affected because the TTC assumes people will walk to another route rather than abandoning the system.
  • Boardings/service hour:  For some reason, this appears only for a subset of the cases shown, although you can calculate the values.  If the proposed cut is 2 vehicles for 3 hours, then this is 6 service hours.  Divide that into the number of people affected to get the boardings/hour.  The screenline for cuts is 15 (not 12 as previously reported) boardings/service hour.

The TTC has already noticed one “oops” — the Downsview Park bus on early Saturday evenings carries 267 riders in the three hours between 7 and 10 pm, or almost 90/hour.  Saturday daytime, it carries 176 in the 13 hours from 6 am to 7 pm, or 13.5/hour.  However, it is likely that a good deal of this riding is concentrated later in the day, and it will be easy to get over the screenline by taking this into account.

I will digest this chart with additional calculations in a post tomorrow.

The methodology has a certain prejudice depending on the type of route.  For example, very short routes tend to have a lot of turnover and rack up boardings quickly.  Long routes handle longer trips, and the resources used per boarding are proportionately greater.  This means that a long route has to have a higher average load to meet the boardings/hour criterion and escape cuts.

For routes that don’t do well, this is something of a moot point because they are never going to the cut, but this sort of systemic error in analysis becomes important if, in 2012, the bar is raised to cut more “unproductive” services.

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